Flowers--I rationalized buying a couple bunches from Sue's, the the Olympic athletes of floral arrangement, to spruce the place up for a couple of showings that weekend. (Our house is on the market, you see. Don't worry--I saved the fish fry for after the prospective buyers came through.) So when suppertime rolled around, we had dahlias to go with our vittles.
The genius of most Southern food, as I've experienced it, is that it's really home cooking. I'm not talking about the great Cajun and Creole dishes of Louisiana here, but instead about the meat-and-three tradition of fresh food, simply prepared. Perfect for Sunday suppers at our house--not a lot of fuss, but worth a leisurely couple of hours in the kitchen.
First, the butter beans on the stove over gentle heat with a half onion and a bay leaf. Next, catfish soaking in buttermilk spiked with Louisiana Hot Sauce. (And now a pause as we consider "The Perfect." I do like it better than Tabasco--it's brighter and fruitier, less dominated by vinegar.) For dredging the fish, whisk together lots of cornmeal with some flour, salt, pepper and paprika. Start the grits on the stove, hovering at first as I stir them into a boiling mix of milk and water; then, once they start to thicken, turning the heat down and stirring from time to time as they glug away, waiting for their dose of butter, cheese and seasonings.
The Taste of Country Cooking and In Pursuit of Flavor (which purports to contain some Ethiopian recipes as well). So there.